English World Cup team refusing food from Russian room service over poisoning fears, source claims

Team England is reportedly on an even stricter diet than usual at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, as players have allegedly been banned from eating food from room service at their Russian hotel.

The Three Lions stars are "under strict orders to reject any food not approved by their expert chefs," The Sun is reporting. According to the outlet, security is on “high alert” at the team's ForRestMix hotel in Repino, Saint Petersburg, given fears surrounding the nerve attack on ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia earlier this year.

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“Nothing is being left to chance. The players are going to do exactly as told. Nothing will pass their lips apart from food and drink provided by chefs and nutritionists,” a source told The Sun. “If the players are hungry they must contact somebody within the management to get a snack. They can’t just reach into the mini bar or buy something from a shop.”

“These rules are always in place at tournaments because of diets, and there is always a fear of food poisoning which could destroy their performance. But for the World Cup in Russia it is very, very strict,” they added.

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But while elite players are snacking on light fare including sushi, oatcakes with cream cheese, and herbal teas, this isn’t the first time that head coach Gareth Southgate has made headlines for cracking down on his player’s diets.

Earlier this year, Southgate coordinated with the Starbucks at the hotel where his team was staying to remove all treats and ban the sale of sugary drinks to his squad ahead of this summer’s World Cup, the Evening Standard reported.

Now that the games have officially begun, nutritionists and chefs have arrived to support the team in Russia, and all precautions are being taken.

“Health inspectors will take food samples and freeze them to look at if something happens,” Tim De’Ath, who has worked as Team England’s head chef for 10 years, told The Sun.

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England is set to make their 2018 World Cup debut on Monday as they take on Tunisia in their opening game. Hopes are high, as the nation has not won the World Cup since 1966.